We recently had a very relaxing 1-week holiday in lovely Portugal. For the sake of posterity and for whoever is planning to go there in the future, here is our experience, along with a few tips and service references!
9th of August
- Fly out from London
10th of August
- Had our brekkie in Faro at Entao – I had a vegetable toast
- Walked around Faro’s amazing pedestrian streets
- Discovered restaurants, pop-ups and gelato places – we both had so much to eat!! I was jumping around like a 5-year old for finding all kinds of places serving fruits, veggies and sorbets
11th of August
- Took an organised boat trip tour to Ihla Deserta and Ihla Culatra
- In the afternoon, we headed towads what we thought was Ihla Terra Estreita, but we got lost on the way #touristsgetlost
- Had dinner in Faro
12th of August
- Woke up super late and decided to just go out for lunch in Faro – we ended up at The Woods for salads (defo not a recommend because of their constant state of confusion about what you ordered)
- We wanted to buy our highway tolls card, but Sat everything was closed (tips alert!)
- Decided to head towards Sagres, but we realized it was not worth all the way, so we decided to just stay in Albufeira where we discovered Praia de Falesia – amazing!
13th of August
- This time we did our research – to read, Angel did his research – and we went again for Terra Estreita
- We were successful in finding the ferry onboarding point – this time!
14th of August
- Drove towards Sagres
- Spent the afternoon at Praia Beliche
- For the sunset, we headed to the Cabo de Sao Vicente, but it proved to be too cold and windy to wait for 2 hrs for the sun to set (I chickened out despite having received a knitted jumper as a gift from my lovely boyfriend)
- We then changed locations to Fortaleza de Sagres, where this time I held my head high – or waited in the car haha – to eventually witness one of the most amazing sunsets ever
- Had a reservation for dinner at Mum’s, best, tastiest, most presentable vegan food I had in a while
- Because it was way too late to head back to Faro and we had a tour planned early morning, we decided to stay overnight in Lagos and found a quirky hostel at its heart, at Orange3 Hostel
15th of August
- We had an amazing kayak tour through the caves of Lagos
- Spent the rest of the day on Praia Dona Ana, I think both of ours favorite
16th of August
- Relaxing time in Faro in the morning and pack up for flight back
- Fly back to London
Useful tips and tricks
Tip #1 Rent a car!
There are trains – and seemingly a bus coach station – but I think while we travelled the roads of Algarve, we didn’t see one bus or any sign of public transport. From what I read before going, inter-city buses run maybe every hour. We thought we don’t want to waste our time waiting for public transport. Plus, there are only so many places you can reach by bus (and foot). Algarve has tens, if not hundreds, of beaches which are reachable only by car.
As a side note, renting a car is actually quite cheap. We paid only 120 euros for our hire, for a 7-day period (!!).
Parking is also quite easy to find and in some cases it’s free of charge. The streets are not that high in traffic even at “rush hour” because… #relaxedlife! You can even use an app (Telpark) to buy your parking slots if you need to and it’s about 0.20 euros per 30 mins.
Tip #2 Get your pre-paid highway toll card
And make sure you do so before the weekend. You can get it from different points, but I think the most reliable ones are the post office services. However, they are open only during week days.
Tip #3 There are toll-free roads
If you don’t want to pay the highways tolls or you simply couldn’t buy the card (like our case), then you can travel places on national toll-free roads. They are not high-speed roads, but they’ll get you anyware. Just make sure you use the “Avoid tolls” setting on your GPS.
Tip #4 Book your dinners ahead
The Algarve is packed with tourists and so are their restaurants. If you want to eat at the best places, then don’t expect to walk in and find a seat just like that. However, you can book your table quite easily either through phone or simply by walking in the day before.
Tip #5 Relax
Don’t expect to find loads of places open at the early hours of the morning serving breakfast and coffee. It’s not London, ok? These are relaxed people, enjoying their late evenings, they wake up late, they might open late (or not open at all in some cases in spite of their official opening time), they take mid-day siestas and they take their time in most of their daily activities. It takes a few days to get used to this rhythm, but once you do, your up for a great holiday!
Useful Information and references
Below, some of the services and hires we used for our trip, including good restaurants:
|Faro: Cristina’s Room on AirBnb (312 euros)
Lagos: Orange3 Hostel (56 euros)
|Luzcar, we had a Nissan Micra with AC (120 euro)|
|Kayak Trip in Lagos: Days of Adventure
Boat trip in Faro: Estreia da Ria Formosa
|Casa Do Prego|
For the final word…
And because I leave all the nice things for the end, what better conclusion to this post than a slideshow of some of our pics and short movies on this vacation.
A one week holiday to Faro in pictures and clips.